tv Vegas Undercover MSNBC February 4, 2012 2:00pm-3:00pm PST
coming through! [ male announcer ] introducing spark the small business credit cards from capital one. get more by choosing unlimited double miles or 2% cash back on every purchase, every day. what's in your wallet? > hello from new york, i'm chris hayes. new york city officials are vowing to investigate the death of majerle graham. early this morning, police dressed in riot gear entered the occupy d.c. encampment in mcpherson square. there are no reports of violence. they are preparing for today's party caucus in nevada where polls show mitt romney holding a commanding lead. i am joined by joan walsh, msnbc political analyst and salon.com's editor at large, karen hunter, msnbc contributor, jodi kantor, author of the book "the obamas." and washington correspondent for "the new york times," baratunde thurston, joining us for the first time. author of the book "how to be black." you called jim crow but i
think it's deeper than that. the 13th amendment abolished slavery except for the prison system. if you are incarcerated you are a slave in this country. how do we breakthrough that? i was reading it and felt so frommessed. and one other thing. i was under the impression that the war on drugs started under the reagan era to weed out crack in the black communities and what michelle was saying in her book is that the war on drugs happen and the crack explosion happened after it. how is that possible? >> yes, many people assumed for a long time and for a long time i believed that the war on drugs was declared in response to the emerge of crack cocaine and the violence in the inner city communities but it is just not true. ronald reagan declared a drug war in 1982 when drug use was on the decline not on the rise.
it was before not after crack began to ravage inner city communities and become a media sensation. richard nixon was the first to coin the term a war on drugs. but president ronald reagan turned that from a declared war into a literal one. why declare a war on drugs? from the outset it had relatively little to do with genuine concern about drug addiction and abuse and nearly everything to do with politics, racial politics. numerous historians have documented that the war on drugs was part of that grand republican party strategy known as the southern strategy of using racially coded get tough appeals on issues of crime and welfare to appeal to poor and working class whites,
particularly in the south who are anxious about and resentful of many of the gains of african-americans in the civil rights movement. when president ronald reagan declared a drug war was was to get tough on a group of people not so subtly defined by race. >> i would like you to respond to -- hearing that i think that tracks with the way i think of the politics of this but it also is the case that we had this remarkable explosion of crime in the country that created the conditions -- created a receptivity among the populace for the message. the crime rates do really go haywire in the '60s and '70s in a way that hadn't happened before or since. it wasn't that -- whether the strategy behind it was completely this cynical manipulation of the politics,
among the populace, the two met each other with awful consequences. >> a perfect storm. >> absolutely. rising crime rates in the '70s absolutely created an environment in which the public was very reseptemberive the get tough rhetoric. it wasn't just that pollsters found those types of get tough messages could appeal to poor and working class whites. there was a severe crime problem in many cities. that crime problem wasn't due to something wrong with black culture or people developing a pathology and predisposition to crime. the reason for the increase in the crime rates was a sudden wave of joblessness in urban areas as factories closed down and began to move overseas and technological innovation rendered so many of the jobs that particularly black men had once relied upon for their basic
living vanished. hundreds of thousands of jobs vanished practically overnight in cities across america. and we could have responded to this sudden crisis, this wave of joblessness with you know care, compassion and concern, economic stimulus packages, job creation programs, investing in education so folks could make the transition to a new service-based economy. but instead of doing all of that we declared a war on drugs and began to round people up en masse. >> jody kantor had a question for you. >> president barack obama is so aware of the issues that you write about and is so is eric holder. how do you rate their performance on these issues? >> well to be honest i'm quite disappointed.
and the reason is that, you know, there has been a shift in the rhetoric but not a meaningful shift in policy. barack obama's drug czar gil kerlikowske said we should not be at war with our own people. that is right. but if you actually take a look at the obama administration's drug control budget, the obama administration invests about the same ratio of dollars in enforcement as compared to drug prevention or treatment as the bush administration. and so we've seen a shift in rhetoric but i don't think we've yet seen the kind of change in policy that would be necessary for you know it to have a real impact on the ground. so we've got to do more than just talk about these issues definitely. we're going to doctor have to actually roll back the policies that led to the prison boom.
>> on behalf of people who care about justice thank you so much. you are a great spokesperson for a great cause that doesn't get attention. >> thank you. >> secondly i want to talk about the opportunity cost not just of treating and labeling people of prisoners but of young people and the criminalization of children and their families and the broken juvenile justice system. i have a friend who started an organization called justice for families that tries to destigmatize the parents of the families of these kids. what more needs to happen around the youth who are poisoned with this label and having their futured written off? >> i'm inspired by the work of the ella baker center in oakland. you know, they've launched campaigns to close juvenile prisons in california, successful campaigns to close juvenile prisons in california.
and they've shown the power of youth organizing. blending the hip hop culture with consciousness raising can be poe tent and powerful. i think there are examples of youth-led organizing efforts around the country where people are demanding education, not incarceration, jobs, not jails. that is the most hopeful sign. it's unreasonable to expect that politicians are going to sing a different tune unless there is a ground swell, a mobilization from the bottom up. and so groupings like the ella baker center are leading the way. >> on a hopeful note to think about. and in the same way the rise and the spike in crime created the preconditions among the population to be receptive to the worst kind of message, perhaps the diminution of crime
will create a way for the populace to rethink crime and criminal justice. i want to thank michelle alexander. thanks so much for joining us this morning. >> thank you forville me. >> how michelle obama has defined her role as first lady, next. this is an rc robotic claw. my high school science teacher made me what i am today. >> how michelle obama has defined her role as first lady, next. lle me. >> how michelle obama has defined her role as first lady, next. e me. >> how michelle obama has defined her role as first lady, next. e me. >> how michelle obama has defined her role as first lady, next. and a wireless microcontroller. over the last three years we've put nearly 100 million dollars into american education. that's thousands of kids learning to love science. ♪ isn't that cool? and that's pretty cool. ♪ the calcium they take because they don't take it with food. switch to citracal maximum plus d. it's the only calcium supplement
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when the president ever so briefly at the apollo theater in harlem channelled al greene. >> did he ever say to you, honey, i'm going to sing? >> no, that was completely spontaneous. i never heard about it until it got on youtube. he does have a beautiful voice and he sings to me all the time. >> really? >> he does. he sings that song. that's why i knew when people said he sang, i said, i bet he sang al greene. ♪ i he does that all the time. i can't sing. >> i think it's fair to say he has a better singing voice than you? is that fair? >> he absolutely does. he doesn't hesitate to show off his lungs to his wife. he's good. >> i think it's so interesting to see how much michelle obama -- first of all, the person of michelle obama as a human being, i think, is fascinating and incredibly appealing. her favorability ratings reflect that.
>> you missed i carly. >> a good show. >> i said what is that? >> do you have a little girl? >> i do but she's too much. okay, okay, i'm going to get blown up on twitter for saying i don't know what that is. but i think that she is such a fascinating and powerful figure, but also i think is having to deal with and navigate a set of confining roles and expectations about what she is in public. jody, obviously, your book got a lot of attention when it first came out and there was a lot of backlash in sort of, i think, both from the white house and in other venues that you had, you know, portrayed her as an angry black lady. she had even -- used that phrase -- here is an interview with her on cbs "morning news" talking about sort of in vague terms about response to the book. >> i guess it's more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here and a strong woman and, you know, but that's
been an image that people have tried to paint of me since, you know, the day barack announced that i'm some angry black woman. who can write about how i feel? who? what third person can tell me how i feel? or anybody, for that matter. >> i want you to respond to this but in a more specific way to this. to step away from the racial subtext of all of this which is also profound and profuses all of it. you know, i have found in my own life that a marriage is a unknowable entity to anyone outside it. it's a mystery within it. people -- this happens in everyone's life. some couple that you think, man, they are bad news. but they stay together forever. some couple you think are the absolute best, you find out they split up and you're devastated and you realize what was happening in that little unit you did not know at all, right? that is the fundamental truth, i think, about the most intimate relationship we have.
i wonder, as a journalist, how do you go about transcending that fundamental unknowibilty of the relationship between two people when that is the os citizensable subject of your book? >> the subject of my book was not secrets of the obama marriage, let's hear, you know, about what they are talking about at the dinner table every night. what it is is a look at a political partnership. and journalists have been documenting these relationships for generations. franklin and eleanor roosevelt and bill and hillary clinton. the reason we are so interested in these partnerships is the unique thing about presidential marriages is that they affect the rest of us. the back and forth dynamic of these two people have consequences for the nation and what, you know, things have really changed in terms of the discussion of the book because something amazing happened a few days after publication which is that people actually started reading the book and instead of making sort of pronouncements on
cable tv and twitter about it, the conversation turned much more serious and much about -- the depiction in the book of michelle obama is not that of an angry black woman, it's a really impassioned, strong woman, who is trying to find her way as first lady. i would also say it's very deceptive if you only read the first chapter or two because it's a turnaround story and it's actually a story of her success in the white house. >> let me say, having read the book, i think she comes across very well. in fact, the thing that comes across most clearly in the book is a human person dealing with an inhuman system. a sane person in insane circumstances. if anyone you said to them you're a successful, extremely successful corporate lawyer, hospital executive, nice life in hyde park and now you're the most famous person in the world essentially, right? or partner to the most famous person in the world? that will be tough to deal with.
>> i haven't read the book. no disrespect. don't plan on reading it but i as the only publisher on this set today i understand the kind of pressures to produce. you got seven figures for this. you got a lot of money to write this book which means that you had to deliver certain things that i, quite frankly, don't think you could have you know, given the amount of money that you were offered to do this book. >> but that -- >> so i ask the question, i ask the question what was your motivation if you didn't have personal interviews with the president or the first lady to produce something called "the obamas" which was an in-depth look at this you power couple what was your motivation for doing it? >> first of all, i've been covering the obamas for five years for "the new york times." and when i wrote the book, i not only had the cooperation of the white house, but the entire book was fact checked with its sources and cross-checked with other people in the white house. nobody has challenged the reporting in the book. nobody has come forward to say, michelle obama didn't do that, she didn't have that dispute.
>> but there is a tone. >> excuse me. please let me finish. so i think that, first of all, you never do your work as a reporter based on how much you're being paid for it. whether you're being paid a lot or a little, you always try to ascertain the same standards of fairness and accuracy. and, you know, my goal in doing the book was really to concentrate on the central question i've been reporting on for five years, which is the transformation. what happens when you take these two regular people from chicago, very talented, very ambitious, but people who lead pretty regular lives and put them in the system that, as chris says, is so unusual and so when i -- when i decided to do the book, i didn't have any of the information that i learned about michelle obama's initial unhappiness in the white house and her turnaround about the conflict between the east and the west wing.
the nature of a project is that you never know what you're going to discover along the way. >> i want to zoom from the book and talk about what the first lady is talking about. >> it is first lady? >> what michelle obama's role has been. i think it has -- she has now become a much more public figure. i think it's fair to say and particularly as we -- i think there is -- i feel like she is handling it with tremendous grace and aplomb just from my amateur sort of perch as a viewer of watching her navigate this. >> i agree completely. you know, i read the book and i did find it very sympathetic and she comes off as a wonderful person, but we are in this world, she's in this world where everything is scrutinized and more than that. everything she does is twisted by this horrible right wing machine that is determined to show her -- the perversion. what i got from the book is how
all-american the obamas are and specifically she chose as her priority, childhood obesity, childhood exercise, good nutrition. which is a very private sort of -- it's exactly what the right wing -- >> she still got creamed for -- >> right. it's about personal behavior. those chubby people or those people walked more, there is nowhere to walk. if they just had better food. supermarkets don't exist in their neighborhoods. she did attack it on a personal level, we can all move more, as well as somewhat systemic in terms of grocery stores and et cetera and fresh foods but she is creamed for this. she became the health czar and is forcing people to wake up and do jumping jacks with her. >> may favorite moment. the first lady starts this or beganic garden -- organic garden the white house and she gets a letter from the fertilizer pesticide society saying we hope
you'll recognize us. she just wants to grow an organic garden! we'll talk more about michelle obama, how to be black and how to be black in the white house right after this. this was the gulf's best tourism season in years. all because so many people wanted to visit us... in louisiana. they came to see us in florida... nice try, they came to hang out with us in alabama... once folks heard mississippi had the welcome sign out, they couldn't wait to get here. this year was great but next year's gonna be even better. and anyone who knows the gulf
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know black people! >> welcome to the show "i know black people." we take contestants who claim to know black people and put their knowledge of african-american culture to the test. why do black people love menthol so much? >> i don't -- i don't know. >> that is correct! >> all right! >> nobody knows! nobody knows. why did black people distrust ronald reagan? >> because he was white? >> that is correct! because he was white? >> that is correct. >> he wasn't supposed to be trusted in the first place. >> he is correct.
>> i just basically use any downtown show a dave chappelle clip. >> you don't need any excuse. >> i thought some of the sensibility of that and the way in which the chappelle show would deal with race on two levels. it was kind of -- it was poking fun of the fact that it was talking about race sort of self-aware, reminds me of the tone that you take in your book how to be black which is a great read. >> thank you. >> and the press from it says if you do not buy this book, you're racist. >> which is also true. i don't put random things in the flap of my book. that's scientifically proven. >> i want you to talk about. you get it -- it's a comedic book but you get at some of the confines of the ways in which identity can be confining but
are also just defining of who we are. in a way i think is a recurring theme in your book, jodi, about the president and the first lady, because they are simultaneously, there is a concentric circles of roles they are defined, right? black man, president of the united states, first lady, wife to someone, right? i want you to talk about how you sort of thought through what you wanted this book to be from that perspective. >> i wanted it to be a personal book and it primarily is. i wanted it to be a funny book because that opens the door to more people who didn't want to listen to what you have to say. how to be the next black president with "next" in parentheses. that's one that i thought of. and the place that i started is with the world. looking at how people have responded to this presidency, to the candidacy and then to the presidency. just as a record first of all, i love that michelle can dance and obama is the one that can sing. and they don't cross over. he can't dance but he is still black.
that is fun too. the fears of socialism and outsiderness and the idea of that black president can't directly take on issues of black people where he is seen as such a threat. one of my lessons in how to be the next black president. don't look at black people in the eye and don't call out black issues. you can talk about urban issues and the middle class and the rising tide lifting all boats but there is a fear that is triggered some of the reaction is that he is going to hook up all of the black people, he is going to hand out checks to everybody through the new banking overlord system just for negros that he is somehow secretly setting up, which is absolutely not the case. he is more restricted in some ways how he can articulate what is going on in that part of the country. >> sometimes the first lady, i feel, is more sort of elegant in her formulations of describing this. when she thaws about childhood obesity she will often say this is a problem that affects everybody but it disproportionately affects black and latino communities.
she's very matter of fact about it. >> first of all, your mother -- i just -- >> thank you. >> she did a great job. >> thank you. >> your back story of people, please read it. and i had to read your book because i needed to make sure that i was actually black and i tweeted this morning i was going to be extra black. >> we did -- >> we did the -- >> but there is this pressure. and, you know, growing up in my community and then going to the daily news and going to the school the first week at drew university one of the white students came up to me and said you don't belong here anyway because you're part of a eof program. i said, no, my father paid full tuition and i graduated in the top 5% of my class and my a.c.t. scores are probably higher than yours but i thought why am i defending that? as if an eof student shouldn't be here because they are part of that program. but that is how things are shaped. i realized in that moment i'm going to be as black as i can! every moment, every stereo type,
and i'm going to success and i hope he is watching this morning. because, hey! >> karen hunter is putting everyone on blast this morning. >> that is the black in me. >> i like when we talk about that word as a describer and the phrase being black works and so and so, i'm going to be so black. even when they describe things in the converse of white, that's so white, right? white people like. and navigating exactly those phrases was the -- is, in some ways, the entire project to the barack obama campaign when he ran the first time and navigating it as the entire subtext for what he has to do every day in navigating the politics. >> one of the roles i talk about early in the book is the idea there are these archetypes for what are acceptable for understanding what black is. you got the criminal, the drug dealer, the thug, the sassy black woman, the angry black woman and add to that list, the u.s. president.
>> right. >> there is something fun about, oh, yeah, you got to be a drug dealer or a ballplayer or the president. that contrast, even as unreachable as that office is from the vast majority of us, regardless of race, there is something fun that the mere -- a fact of his being and her being together in that house have changed the conversation a little bit. >> absolutely changed the conversation. we are living in a social experiment. for years and years, we talked about we need to have a national conversation on race. we really do. we will get to it next year probably. >> that's a big thing. >> i don't know. but we are doing it. we're doing it in realtime. we're doing it on television. we're doing it in our private homes and it's hard sometimes. i said this about jodi's book. i think she tried to grapple with it and sometimes didn't get it right in my opinion but we have to teach one another how to get it right. >> it comes down to blacks aren't aliens. >> no. >> maybe newt gingrich would like us to be. are we? >> that is the last chapter of the book. >> don't give away our secrets. >> don't do that. the fact we have to be examined under this microscope under this prism that no other race has to
deal with to me is so bizarre and it goes back to michelle in the last segment if you read her book that there you know there is a conspiracy. it just feels like it, to catalogize us and put us in this box as if we're different. we are not. we want the same things. people grow up and want a safe neighborhood for their kids and want schools that work and they want to make a living. there is nothing different about us that would make such -- >> are you saying black people are people? >> i want to talk about this precise thing about difference and what the significance is right after this break. >> sorry. i got passionate.
president and racial identity, i think you eluded to this and mentioned it the way in which the fact he is constantly navigating these different racial stereotypes and boxes and confining boxes and trying to transcend them and at times embrace them in sort of equal measure makes it difficult to actually, i think, explicitly talk in racial terms about policy, right? there is a sense the black president can't get up and say, you know, our criminal justice system is super racist. >> but so much fear and just so many people want him to be so many things. both positively and negatively. the republicans want him, need him -- not all of them -- but many at the extreme need him to be this other, this alien. >> look at what happened when he said something about -- >> we have a tape. this was probably the most -- this happened pretty early in the presidency. i was at that press conference. he was asked about a question about henry louis gate from
harvard. was he arrested -- >> yes, on his porch. >> on his own porch arrested and asked a question about it from the chicago sun times. >> what i think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there is a long history in this country of african-americans and latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. that's just a fact. that is a sign, an example of how, you know, race remains a factor in the society. that doesn't lessen the incredible progress that has been made. i am standing here at testimony to the progress that's been made. and, yet, the fact of the matter is that, you know, this still haunts us. >> wait. i think we have to give the context also. which is that part of the reason this turned into a mess is that that press conference was supposed to be about health care reform. >> that's right. the last question, i think, actually.
>> they were trying so hard to turn the subject. this is the era of the death panel accusations and they are trying to so hard to turn the conversation into a serious constructive discussion of health care reform and then the car goes off the road into race. >> and that moment, i remember sitting in the room watching and being like this is really honest. it was like this moment where, all of a sudden, everything dropped away about barack obama and this person who has been so careful and you could see how careful is he there. not like he is letting himself go but there was an honesty to it. an honest reaction to the fact of it. >> that level of honesty is something people claim to want but they rarely do. >> right. >> then when it comes -- when it comes out from him, you know, even in navigating and relating this obvious truth that we all have to agree to because the data shows it he is like love america. love america. it actually does lessen some of the greatness of the country you have this stop and frisk policy which he is essentially calling out but america is still a great place.
got to pledge allegiance as i'm telling painful truths about the nation. >> and he still got flak for it. >> of course he did. >> to me it was a defining moment. i think it was similar thing happened in the civil liberties where they signed the executive order on guantanamo and they released those sea memos and it just blew up. it was a huge thing. dick cheney was on the news everywhere. you've seen since then, it's like, okay, touch the hot pot once, we're not going to touch it again. politically and you've seen with this issue it was like, okay, got it. >> that's part of -- i mean, i think we are watching so much. this is the beauty, the examination of the presidency and of race in this conversation. it's such public. we are watching this dance and we are watching this navigation and we are seeing because they are the first, the first always, they are the pioneers, they deal with all of this stuff. one of the things that i would have loved to have said in the
book is the second black president is really going to be the first black president. because the obamas have opened the door and the second generation will know what we are getting into. >> you have to look at the history of the presidency which is strange, because our country has always been diverse and our leadership has really never been diverse. it's not like we had the first latino american president and the first asian american president. >> we only had one catholic president. >> we have one nonwasp president. in the entire history of the entire country. >> i thought the most quietly fascinating person in the white house is marion robinson, michelle's mom. oprah wants to interview her because she is a great oprah story. they say oprah wants you on. do you want to do it? she says, no, i don't like to be famous. i like slipping out of the gates i go up to filene's basement. i shop there in private and quiet and everybody there just
thinks i work in the executive mansion, meaning they think i'm a housekeeper. >> right. >> what do we know now we didn't know last week? my answers after this. [ male announcer ] we asked real people if they'd help us with an experiment for febreze fabric refresher. they agreed. [ experimenter 1 ] relax, take some nice deep breaths. [ experimenter 2 ] what do you smell? lilac. clean. there's something that's really fresh. a little bit beach-y. like children's blankets. smells like home. [ experimenter 1 ] okay. take your blindfolds off. ♪ hello? [ male announcer ] and now new and improved febreze fabric refresher with up to two times the odor elimination so you can breathe happy, guaranteed.
the other office devices? they don't get me. they're all like, "hey, brother, doesn't it bother you that no one notices you?" and i'm like, "doesn't it bother you you're not reliable?" and they say, "shut up!" and i'm like, "you shut up." in business, it's all about reliability. 'cause these guys aren't just hitting "print." they're hitting "dream." so that's what i do. i print dreams, baby.
[whispering] big dreams. quick update on a story last week when we interviewed eric schneiderman the co chair of the mortgage crisis unit. yesterday, he announced he filed a lawsuit against several of the nation's largest banks including j.p. morgan chase and wells fargo accusing them of fraud and deceit when using an electronic mortgage registry. by creating this bizarre and complex end around, the bank saved $2 billion in fees. what do we know now? we now know what we always suspected that the superpacs are
a way for the wealthy to funnel massive amounts of cash into elections. we know that pro romney superpac got 86% of donations over $100,000. and the obama supporting superpac is barely raking in the dough with $4 million in campaigns. even without being able to rely on million dollar checks last year the president's campaign raised $125 million but impressively nearly half of that is from donations of $200 or less. the small dollar donations account for 9% of mitt romney's total hall. mike daisy who joined us last week has inspired apple consumers to protest unfair
labor practices in china. after listening to a practice, one apple user wrote an open letter to apple writing you have supposed to think different. i want to use and love the products you make because they are changing the world but i want to know when i buy products from you it's not at the cost of human suffering. steven downing got the most votes of 2270 purks who submitted questions to a google hosted interview with the president competition. >> for my decades of law enforcement experience i have come to see our country's drug policies as a failure and waste of criminal justice resources. according to the gallup poll the number of those who want to legalize marijuana outin urge
the ones who want prohibition. what do you say to those people? >> we know that google ignored his question and downing's response it is worse that google would waste the time of the president and the american people to discuss midnight snacks and playing tennis when there is more questions in the minds of the people. we are tired of the public policy crisis being pushed aside. we will forever be without a soul pioneer. don cornelius died this week leaving behind a cultural legacy. he was the creator of the path breaking "soul train" tv show. he brought james brown and sly stone into the living rooms of viewers across the country. our building meat quest love wrote to say with a straight decision tied face that black is beautiful was the riskiest,
radical, life changing move that america has seen. we know that in living rooms and dance floors across the country he will be missed. c'mon dad! i'm here to unleash my inner cowboy. instead i got heartburn. hold up partner. prilosec can take days to work. try alka-seltzer. it kills heartburn fast. yeehaw!
that's good morning, veggie style. hmmm. for half the calories plus veggie nutrition. could've had a v8. and they make my life just perfect. we were having too much fun, we weren't thinking about a will at that time. we were in denial. that's right. [ laughter ] we like our freedoms, but at the same time we have responsibilities to the kids and ourselves. we're the vargos and we created our wills on legalzoom. finally. [ laughter ] [ shapiro ] we created legalzoom to help you take care of the ones you love. go to legalzoom.com today and complete your will in minutes. at legalzoom.com, we put the law on your side.
have been tracking the amazing ice cube "good day" detective work going on right now. as a very smart listener found the actual day he was talking about in that song, and there's been some response on the internet. i've been obsessed with it all week. joan walsh of salon.com, i'll begin with you. >> i think we learned that people don't want breast cancer, and people care about planned parenthood and understand what it does, the breadth of what it does and wouldn't let it be reduced to simply abortion. i think that was awesome. >> we didn't talk about it today, because we are going to talk about it quite at length tomorrow and we have a bunch the great folks to talk about that, but you wrote a good piece which i commend to the viewers, and it was amazing to watch the whole thing develop. someone cared it on the sopa backlash, it was so quick and
effective -- >> it was not organized. it just took off because people really cared and understood what it meant. >> karen hunter? >> i'm going to keep it simple. i didn't know joan walsh could bounce to the music. she must have readily read barunte's book. >> this year is a leap year, so one more day to black history month. i would eradicate it and incorporate it into every single day. it's not something that should be separate, but part and parcel that is part of the country and the world. >> and there's a funny listing of the history months, but i didn't even know. the irish have a history moyer. >> jodi? >> i learned the obamas are not doing a super bowl party this year, which i was fascinated by. as i was reporting my book, one of the things that i was the way even the super bowl and being a regular sports fan is affected
by the presidency. it becomes more and more political. the obamas have started using it for an occasion for politicking. the president was forced to remain neutral last year, because the entire state of wisconsin got a little peeve that he wasn't going to root for the packers. so i'm really fascinated that even in the run-up to the 2012 election they're trying to kind of take the super bowl back into the private sphere and just watch it as regular people. >> private thing, watch the game. those are the sort of things where you have to carve out a little bit of space. baruntende, what do you know now? >> i know that newt gingrich has a larger ego than i thought. >> that isn't impossible. >> i thought it was impossible, but then he compared himself to the people who died in the revolutionary war while having the thinnest skin. i've also learned from this show, a great show, and i'm not saying that to kiss your butt, but i've learned that michelle
alexander is my new favorite author and i will read it again and spread the links through the world. the world needs to know that story. >> we've even just in my inbox and on twitter got interesting responses. people responding strongly. you didn't talk about the pedophiles and felons that got out and killed someone. it's obviously a much longer discussion. if you've joined us for the effect hour, the first hour we had michelle alexander. it's something we want to try to do. the rest of the campaign is talking about the things they are not talking about. >> i thought it was interesting that she was tougher on the president than any of us were. >> yes, she was, and -- >> you set her up, though. >> no, she just asked, she just asked. >> what's your opinion -- >> she just asked. >> she has a lot of authority. >> people should definitely check out michelle alexander's book. we're moving a lot of book
merchandise today. this is the last time we book three book authors in the same week. this is my week right here. >> the printed word. >> i applaud that. where's my book? >> thank you joan, we'll have you back whenever your book comes out. >> karen hunter, msnbc contributor. jodi cantore author of "the obamas." and author of the book "how to be black." >> he was nervous, because he messed up yours. >> i always screw up the ending of the show. thank you for joining us today for "up" and join us tomorrow morning. we'll have melissa harry-perfectly dave weigel and amy goodman. until then, follow us on twitter and "up with chris. "see you tomorrow. thank you so much for getting up.
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